Proxy referencing workflows


Proxy references let you substitute different files in the scene that have been previously organized within a proxy set. You must have an existing file reference in order to add one or more corresponding proxy references to the proxy set. An example of a generalized proxy workflow is provided below:

Example 1: Creating proxies for a file reference

  1. Create the files you want to use as proxy references.

    For example, if you have a full resolution version of your scene, you can create simpler, lower resolution copies of this scene. That is, the copies could contain identical content with identical naming structures, but have simplified versions of the objects. As a result, you might have three versions of the scene: a high resolution version called, a medium resolution version called, and a low resolution version

  2. Create a file reference for the full resolution version of the scene, and give it a proxy tag name of HiRes.
  3. In the Reference Editor, select the file reference you just created and then add one of the other files as a proxy reference using the Reference Editor’s Proxy menu.

    In this example, when you add the file as a proxy, ensure you apply a proxy tag named MedRes.

  4. Repeat step 3 for the file to add it to the proxy set ensuring you apply the appropriate proxy tag name (LowRes).

You can load or unload multiple proxy references in the scene simultaneously by selecting the multiple file references within the Reference Editor, and then select the appropriate proxy tag name (provided you have been consistent with your proxy tag naming).

The next example shows you how to add a proxy reference using the Reference Editor, identify it with a unique tag, and then load it into the scene.

A scene contains a file reference to a scene containing a tree model. The referenced tree will be substituted with a simpler proxy reference.

Example 2: Adding and loading a proxy reference

  1. In the Reference Editor, from the list of file references, select the existing file reference for the detailed model of the tree.

    In this example, the file reference is named tree.

  2. In the Reference Editor, select Proxy > Add Proxy > .

    The Proxy Options window appears.

  3. In the Proxy Options window, set the Proxy Tag Options by typing loRes in the text string field.
  4. Click the Proxy button.

    The file browser appears showing the current default project scene directory (or the last directory that was accessed by the file browser when referencing a file).

  5. In the file browser, select the treeSimple scene you want as the proxy reference.
  6. Click Proxy to add the selected file as a proxy reference to the existing file reference.

    The proxy file is added to the list of available proxies within the proxy set and the loRes proxy tag is applied. This is indicated by the icon in the Reference Editor. The proxy file will not appear in the scene until you load it.


    Whenever you add a proxy reference to an existing file reference, it is not immediately loaded into the scene until you specify that you want it to be loaded.

  7. In the Reference Editor, with the existing file reference still highlighted, select Proxy > Reload Proxy As.
  8. Select loRes from the pop-up menu that appears.

    Maya updates the file reference by loading the treeSimple proxy reference (tagged loRes) into the scene.

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